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Setting up "centers"

 
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mommyto2girls
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Joined: 29 Oct 2007
Posts: 47

PostPosted: Thu Jan 17, 2008 7:38 pm    Post subject: Setting up "centers" Reply with quote

I was just wondering if any of you have done any of this? there is a book about this that i've requested from the library...i think it would be neat - especially for the rainy days. One thing i am going to is set up a rice box in our playroom - measuring cups/spoons, mixing spoons, bowls, etc.

what other ideas?
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riccalo
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Joined: 21 Oct 2007
Posts: 95
Location: United States

PostPosted: Thu Jan 17, 2008 8:18 pm    Post subject: Re: seting up "centers" Reply with quote

mommyto2girls wrote:
I was just wondering if any of you have done any of this? there is a book about this that i've requested from the library...i think it would be neat - especially for the rainy days. One thing i am going to is set up a rice box in our playroom - measuring cups/spoons, mixing spoons, bowls, etc.

what other ideas?


I really like your rice box with measuring utensils idea.


Here are some things we have in our play-room/learning center.


A reading corner with bean bag seats and a bookshelf with plenty of their favorite books for them to read or be read to.


A simple card table with an arts and crafts container near by. We fill it with; washable paint & brushes, sponges, crayons, coloring pencils, beads and string, felt, scissors, glue, popsicle sticks, googly eyes, construction paper, pom-poms, yarn, glitter, etc. We also have "General Play" containers. We fill them with toys like; play-dough, moon sand, puzzles and board games.

A dress up box can be fun for both boys and girls. My boys still have one and they are 9 and 5. I keep old Halloween costumes in it and little accessories I pick up from stores from time to time.


If your children are really young you could have a bean bag toss game. All you need is baskets and bean bags with; shapes, basic colors, sight words, numbers, etc. on them.


Hope this was helpful.
-Erica
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mommyto2girls
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Joined: 29 Oct 2007
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 17, 2008 10:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

thanks! that was very helpful...just the ideas i am looking for!

in your general baskets...do you trade toys out or keep them all out?

i have not been disciplined enough to do the trade out thing...right now i have gone through and put tons of toys in boxes for a yard sale, but i think it is wise to change them out...

is the moonsand messy? i've been steering clear of it even though i'm not usually too worried about that! (I am going to have a big box of rice im my house soon!)

thanks!
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riccalo
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Joined: 21 Oct 2007
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 18, 2008 12:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm so glad you found my post helpful. I was hoping you would. Smile

I do shuffle / trade out the toys in the general play containers. Not very often though, about once a month or so. Just so things stay fresh and new for them. If I'm having a busy month I don't worry about it, I just try to find a few minutes in a day the next month to cart out some old things and bring in some new.

Moon Sand can be a bit messy so I would supervise when little ones are playing with it. Moon Sand is simply a clean colored sand that never dries out and molds into shapes and things. I picked up the large set ($24 at Target - there are much cheaper sets available) that came with molds and a case to store it. I have my boys play with it on the card table and then I wipe it up into little zip-lock bags and put them back into the case when they are finished with it. I would also suggest that you have your little ones play with one color of moon sand at a time so they don't get mixed up.

Even though it can be a bit messy I will say that my boys love it, especially right now during the winter months when they can't play in their sandbox.

-Erica
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mommyto2girls
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 18, 2008 7:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

that is so funny about the colors mixing together...the first thing my DD does when we get new playdough is mix them all together! It is one of those things i just don't worry about.

I am considering trying to get my rice box going today...it has been rainy and cold for the last 4-5 days here and we are all getting cabin fever!

I ordered the book by Mary Pride about "How to set up learning centers in your home" the list price is $5 and the cheapest i found it was $5.75!! It must be out of print and in demand...who knows? Anyways, I will post good ideas from there too!

Of course, I must mention the bath tub is full of learning opportunities...I let my kids paint with shaving cream and food coloring, have medicine droppers, tea sets, sponges, spray bottles (sometimes!), etc...the possibilites are almost endless!
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4given
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Joined: 22 Mar 2007
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Location: S.Indiana

PostPosted: Fri Jan 18, 2008 12:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

On that rice box...how much rice will you use? Thinking about it myself.
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mommyto2girls
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 18, 2008 3:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

actually, it takes a lot! I am not sure exactly...I did a baby pool about 1/2 full of rice for VBS last year...it has actually stayed dry and bug free in storage at the church. I am going to use it again this year, but I am going to bring it home for us the rest of the time and just replace it as needed for VBS each year (taking it from our house to the church - no need in it sitting unused!). Anyway, our associate pastor went to walmart to get it for me last year...he said he has never gotten such strange looks as he did with a buggy full of rice...I think he got all they had!

I would say get a big bag from SAMS if you can and start with that...I am guessing we had 50 pounds or so...not sure what it will take for a flat storage box. When I bring mine home I will tell you how much I used... it is stored in gallon bags now.

BTW, for even more fun, you can color your rice!
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4given
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Joined: 22 Mar 2007
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Location: S.Indiana

PostPosted: Fri Jan 18, 2008 4:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hmmm...colored rice? I have a recipe for 1 Cup rice, 1 tsp. rubbing alcohol, and 3-4 drops of food coloring. Is that how you would color it(times a "zillion", of course)?
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riccalo
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Joined: 21 Oct 2007
Posts: 95
Location: United States

PostPosted: Fri Jan 18, 2008 4:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

mommyto2girls wrote:
that is so funny about the colors mixing together...the first thing my DD does when we get new playdough is mix them all together! It is one of those things i just don't worry about.

I am considering trying to get my rice box going today...it has been rainy and cold for the last 4-5 days here and we are all getting cabin fever!

I ordered the book by Mary Pride about "How to set up learning centers in your home" the list price is $5 and the cheapest i found it was $5.75!! It must be out of print and in demand...who knows? Anyways, I will post good ideas from there too!

Of course, I must mention the bath tub is full of learning opportunities...I let my kids paint with shaving cream and food coloring, have medicine droppers, tea sets, sponges, spray bottles (sometimes!), etc...the possibilites are almost endless!


Can't wait to see the interesting play center ideas you come across from the book. Smile

I have never thought of using spray bottles before! What a great idea. I don't allow my boys to play with toy guns at all and they always want a squirt gun whenever they see them in the store during the summer time. I always have to say no and then they have to settle for the sprinkler. Now I can let them run around squirting each other with spray bottles. Thanks for the idea. Smile

-Erica
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Ophelia
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Joined: 20 Nov 2007
Posts: 105
Location: Ohio

PostPosted: Fri Jan 18, 2008 4:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I read another idea for spray bottles just the other day in a magazine.

Fill spray bottles with water and food colors. Let the kids spray them on the snow to create art.
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mommyto2girls
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Joined: 29 Oct 2007
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 18, 2008 8:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

DH is a dairy farmer, so we get alcohol by the quart...i use that and i just put the rice in a roasting pan, one for each color...cover in alcohol...put in as much food coloring as you think - a good little bit - let soak and pour out on paper towels or newspapers to dry. You can also do the process in ziplock bags.

The spray bottles would make an excellent substitute for water guns! Also, you could use the food coloring in spray bottles for spraying old white sheets...we have no snow here in GA!

I hope my book comes soon...we could all be inspired! Laughing

I went to the dollar tree tonight and got a new set of measuring cups/spoons, set of 3 funnels and a pour style measuring cup for the rice bin...when I get it set up I will try to post pictures!
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